Sunday, December 20, 2009

Feeling like Roger Bannister

OK, so today was my first ever mile race. I figured I was in about 5:20ish shape given other races and some track workout times. Race was in Golden Gate Park, and billed as downhill and fast!

Got to SF early and parked at the end of the race and ran to the start. Definitely not a flat course! Got to the startline, which was on top of the hill on JFK drive. Not only was it downhill, there was also a healthy tailwind. If I can't run a fast mile on this course I don't think I ever will. Wasn't sure about pacing as the course was so "not flat", so decided to run quickly and try to keep the wheels on. Weather was perfect. high 40's & overcast.
  • Gun goes off, and a lot of people go out way, way fast. Unfortunately this includes me. First 1/4 in 1:09 (4:37 pace) - but this included a drop of about 50' and felt OK, so I kept going.
  • 2nd quarter was 1:15 (5:02 pace) and only dropped 19'. Still feeling OK, but HR is now up to 180.
  • 3rd quarter I try to keep the effort steady based on HR and end at 182, for a 1:20 quarter.
  • Decide to push for the finish and try to catch a guy ahead, but things are starting to hurt. As I approach the line I can see the clock at 4:50....4:51...4:52 and I don't think I can get there sub 5. Cross at 5:02 after a final crazy sprint with another runner (who got a 5:01).
So this is a ridiculously fast course, with a 140' drop. I think I could have pushed a little harder in the 2nd/3rd quarters and found those 3 seconds to go sub 5. I'll definitely run this next time around and will get that 4:XX - I now know how Roger Bannister must have felt when he was trying to go sub 4 in the mile and kept getting 4:01's (although I suspect he would have easily run a 3:40 on this course!)

25 minutes later was the 5K. The first mile was the same mile I had just run, but the other way, so I knew this was not a PR course. Decided to just run it as a tempo (6:15-6:20 pace) and put on a sweathshirt and my Santa hat. Ran 6:43, 6:02, 6:09, 0:52 (last .15). Ran the last .15 hard as it was an uphill finish and I got into a sprint with a couple runners who were determined to beat the guy in the Santa hat! Overall 19:48 (6:17 pace) so it was a solid tempo. Even without running the mile there is no way I would have PR'd on this course today, so I think I made the right decision.

I might run a DSE 5K next weekend, which is a SF low key (ie. not accurately measured) race as I will be up there for a party Saturday night. Alternatively I may not bother as I suspect I will drink too much.

After that is a New Year's Day 5/10K in Palo Alto Baylands. Not sure which race I'll run yet but whichever it is I'll be gunning for a PR.

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